Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Out there, on my bike
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Have you done these types of rides before? You won't look like an idiot, not any more than the other hundreds of people on bikes and in spandex. Really, you shouldn't waste your time on those worries! There are all types of rider on these kinds of rides. All ages, sizes, types of bikes, speeds... It's not a competition and it's not a beauty contest. I like these types of rides because of the camaraderie--we all choose to do this bicycling thing, and we all really like it! How cool is that?
Ride your bike as much as possible before the 26th. You'll want to work out the kinks and get comfortable before the ride. Cables are gonna stretch, so you'll want the bike shop to do a quick look-over a few days before the ride. If you haven't already, I highly recommend arranging for a professional fitting of your bike. Also, get used to the other things, like shorts and shoes. Nothing is worse than realizing that those brand new shoes give you blisters when your on a ride far from home. Do you have a riding buddy whom you can do the ride with? You can probably find someone who's riding at your pace, or if you prefer you can ride alone and enjoy the scenery. It's a personal preference.
Will you have a bike computer? It'll be very helpful for following the cue sheets, although the course should be well-signed. Sometimes, though, the signs fall off. That happened to me in last year's Bike Virginia and I got lost for little while. I hadn't seen another cyclist in a half hour; I thought that was strange. Maps are great, though.
Oh, and drink lots of water/gatorade and eat frequently.